Marvels of Math: Fascinating Reads and Awesome Activities

Overview

Riveting stories and intriguing facts about the innovations and triumphs of mathematicians throughout history answer such questions as, When did the concept of zero originate? Who discovered negative numbers? and How were geometry or algebraic equations first created? Each story has a list of terms to learn, related discussion questions, and experiments and activities that demonstrate and amplify the story's mathematical theme.

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Overview

Riveting stories and intriguing facts about the innovations and triumphs of mathematicians throughout history answer such questions as, When did the concept of zero originate? Who discovered negative numbers? and How were geometry or algebraic equations first created? Each story has a list of terms to learn, related discussion questions, and experiments and activities that demonstrate and amplify the story's mathematical theme.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Alice F. Stern
Mathematical advances are most often the result of people questioning the status quo and daring to push beyond the boundaries. This title captures sixteen such fascinating stories and makes them accessible to students in grades three through nine. For example, ever wonder why we have the number zero? Find out here; read the story of al-Khwarizmi's invention of the number zero. He must convince his Caliph, ruler, that zero is more than just a place holder, but is actually a number. When did women become recognized mathematicians? Students can read about Sonya Kovalevsky, the first female professor of mathematics; and Sophie Germain, who secretly took LaGrange's math class in 1794 and whose paper was selected as the best for that semester.

These stories are about characters and capture a brief moment in time when they reach turning points in their mathematical work. The stories are historically accurate but most of the dialogue is concocted; nevertheless they are interesting and will leave readers curious for more. The stories contain very little mathematics although some introduce advanced topics in mathematics. Each story is outlined as follows: At a Glance: a brief introduction to the story; Terms to Know: descriptions of key mathematical terms relevant to the story; The Story; and Follow-on Questions and Activities to Explore: two questions (some with answers and some without answers) exploring social and mathematical concepts and issues related to the story.

This book can serve as a good bridge between history and mathematics as well as good preliminary material before introducing various mathematical concepts A list of references is provided at the end of the book. Students can obtain additional information from these references but will need to do some digging to find which references relate to which stories. Index. Illus. Biblio.

VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P J (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563085857
  • Publisher: Libraries Unlimited
  • Publication date: 10/15/1998
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 938,956
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

KENDALL HAVEN is a nationally recognized master storyteller and the author of numerous books, including Marvels of Math, Write Right!, and Close Encounters with Deadly Dangers. A former research scientist, he is based in Fulton, California.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Stories About Numbers
Numbers in the Sand: The Invention of Irrational Numbers by the Pythagoreans circa 520 BC 3
Something from Nothing: The Invention of Zero as a Number by al-Khwarizmi in AD 800 13
Imagine That...: The Invention of Imaginary Numbers by Rafael Bombelli in 1545 23
Infinity...and Beyond!: The Invention of "Surreal" Numbers by John Conway and Martin Kruskal in 1992 31
Stories About Geometry
Elementary Elements: The Invention of Euclidean Geometry by Euclid in 295 BC 43
"Flying" High: The Invention of Cartesian Coordinates by Rene Descartes in the 1620s 51
Shadow Boxing: The Invention of Perspective Geometry by Girard Desargues in 1635 60
Stories About Mathematical Concepts
The Weighing Game: The Invention of Specific Gravity and Buoyancy by Archimedes in 232 BC 73
The Odds Are...: The Invention of Probability Theory by Pierre de Fermat in 1654 83
Smaller Makes Bigger: The Invention of Calculus by Isaac Newton in 1666 93
A Bridge to Math: The Invention of Topology by Leonhard Euler in 1736 104
The Truth About "M. Le Blanc": Sophie Germain's Start Toward Her Development of the Theory of Elasticity in 1794 113
Out of Time: The Invention of Group Theory by Evarstie Galois in 1831 120
One Step Forward, One Step Back: The Theory of Sequences and Improved Algebraic Solutions by Sonya Kovalevsky in the 1870s 129
Stories About Calculating Machines
No Bones About It!: The Invention of "Napier's Bones" by John Napier in 1605 141
Amazing Grace: The Invention of Computer Languages by Grace Hopper in 1944 152
References 161
Index 167
About the Author 172
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